Final

Series: Game 2 of 4

Series tied 1-1 (as of 8/16)

Game 1: Friday, August 15
Tampa Bay0Final
Cleveland1
Game 2: Saturday, August 16
Tampa Bay5Final
Cleveland3
Game 3: Sunday, August 17
Tampa Bay4Final
in 12
Cleveland5
Game 4: Monday, August 18
Tampa Bay7Final
in 13
Cleveland4

Devil Rays 5

(49-72, 20-38 away)

Indians 3

(54-70, 31-30 home)

    7:05 PM ET, August 16, 2003

    Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 220000100 5 12 0
    CLE 010200000 3 9 2

    W: M. Malaska (2-1)

    L: C. Lee (1-1)

    S: L. Carter (21)

    Tampa Bay 5, Cleveland 3

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- Lou Piniella's blond dye job has faded some, but Tampa Bay's manager still has some highlights left in his hair.

    And lately, his young team hasn't made him any grayer.

    Jared Sandberg hit a two-run homer and Aubrey Huff had two RBI Saturday night as the improving Devil Rays beat Cleveland 5-3, ending the Indians' winning streak at four.

    Sandberg connected in the second inning off rookie Cliff Lee (1-1) as the Devil Rays won yet another close game. They're now 35-35 in a major league-leading 70 games decided by two runs or less.

    Tampa Bay, which went 5-21 in June, has the best record (16-10) in the AL East since July 20.

    "Our young kids have shown a lot of improvement," said Piniella, in his first year with Tampa Bay. "We've gotten to the point where it's nice and competitive. We got holes to fill. But it's a very competitive team.

    "It's been heartening for us to see, but we've still got a long way to go."

    Mark Malaska (2-1), pitching in front of family and friends, worked 1 1-3 hitless innings, and Lance Carter pitched the ninth for his 21st save.

    Malaska is from Youngstown, Ohio, pitched at Akron University and left 35 tickets for guests.

    "I probably had to turn down 60 people," said Maskala, who remembered Jacobs Field being much bigger when he came to the All-Star game here in 1997. "I never imagined pitching here. I never imagined being in the big leagues."

    Alex Escobar homered for the first time in nearly two years for the Indians, now 9-3 in their last 12.

    Cleveland left fielder Jody Gerut made two excellent plays in the seventh to keep the Indians close. First, he robbed Julio Lugo of extra bases with a diving catch in the corner, and later in the inning, Gerut threw out Huff at the plate.

    "That kid's a nice player," Piniella said.

    Tampa Bay's 20-year-old rookie, Chad Gaudin, made his first major league start and lasted 3 2-3 innings. The youngest player in Devil Rays history allowed three runs and six hits with three walks.

    Gaudin made four relief appearances before Piniella gave him a start.

    "I wasn't happy with it at all," Gaudin said. "I thought I could do a whole lot better. I didn't feel comfortable out there. Something was wrong."

    That's been the case for Tampa Bay since it joined the AL as an expansion team in 1998. But the league's youngest team is making slow, steady progress.

    "I think the perception is changing a lot," Malaska said. "I wasn't around the big league team much the past couple years. But right now, everything is very positive. There's a good feeling in here."

    Lee, recalled earlier in the day when the Indians placed reliever Jason Boyd on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder tendinitis, gave up three earned runs and eight hits in six innings.

    After being shut out Friday night by C.C. Sabathia, the Devil Rays scored twice in the first, helped by two Cleveland errors.

    Lugo singled with one out in the first and Rocco Baldelli reached when third baseman Casey Blake couldn't handle his routine grounder.

    Huff's single scored Lugo, and Baldelli also came in when right fielder Escobar's throw to third sailed into the photographer's pit.

    "I'd like to think the outcome would have been different if we made those plays," Blake said. "They're a scrappy team. It doesn't matter who you're playing, you can't give any team extra outs."

    Tampa Bay added two runs in the second when Toby Hall led off with a single and Sandberg followed by pulling a 1-1 pitch into the left-field seats for his third homer and first since June 6.

    Escobar, whose 24 homers led the International League before he was recalled on Friday from Triple-A Buffalo, made it 4-1 with his first AL homer.

    The homer was also his first since Oct. 5, 2001, with the New York Mets. Escobar missed all last season with a torn knee ligament.

    Game notes


    With Lee up, Indians manager Eric Wedge plans to use a six-man rotation the rest of the season. Lee is also the 15th rookie on Cleveland's 25-man roster. ... Gaudin is the 13th starter used by the Devil Rays this season, tying a club record set in 1999. ... Earlier this season, Gaudin pitched a perfect game in his debut for Double-A Orlando. It was only the second perfect game in Southern League history.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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